What to Eat & Drink in New York City

New York is among the most dynamic food scenes in the world. I couldn’t hope to keep up with it, even if I tried. And trust me, I’m not trying. That said, I used to live there, I often travel there and I still love to eat there. One clever lie that New Yorkers tend to heap onto unsuspecting tourists is that there is no end to the good food in New York City, that you can walk into almost any restaurant and the forces that conspire to make New York “the greatest city in the world,” co-conspire to ensure that any restaurant you enter will serve you very good food. That’s bullshit.

Galician-Style Grilled Octopus (With Easy and Vegetarian Preparation Options)!

The first time I had this Galician-style dish was many years ago in Sevilla. There, it was served with boiled potatoes and braised octopus. Although delicious, it was a bit too traditional. One problem that traditional cuisines often face is that they’re too rooted in tradition. That is to say, they could use some modern cooking techniques, informed by our contemporary understanding of food science. I’ve done that here.

Spaghetti alla marinara con gamberetti e cozze

No one really knows where marinara comes from, but according to folk histories, the wives of sailors would prepare marinara for their husbands returning from the sea. As a result, it seems fitting that I include some delicious seafood in this recipe, keeping with tradition. Have a question? Ask me anything! Ingredients – Serves Four…

A Taste of Zen: Unpenjiru

My experience with the cuisine of Buddhist monks started on a week-long mediation retreat many years ago in the country side of Central Massachusetts. To say the least, the food was not the main draw. Luckily, I didn’t let that discourage me from future indulgence. Years later, while on a stressful, month-long trip through Southern…

Denver Dining

Although the Denver fine dining is far short of world class, there are some amazing casual eats well worth trying. Beyond casual eats, Denver has a budding cocktail scene. My recommendations for all are below.

Trial, Error, Music and Cooking

Music is an endless fount of metaphor and inspiration across all areas of life. As philosopher Dan Dennett once observed, “Music is unique to our species, but found in every human culture.” There are few things more natural to us and few things that I’m personally more passionate about than music (perhaps food can be…

How to Find a Better Restaurant (Or My Collected Restaurant and Bar Guides)

I’ve been traveling fairly regularly to San Francisco for years. Yet, until recently, I’d mostly dread those trips. San Francisco is expensive, its people half kind and generous, half aggressively irritating and it’s food scene, pretentious, fickle, boring (or so I thought). As it turns out, and to my delight, there is some good food in…

A Quick Guide to Dashi

Dashijiru, or “dashi” for short, is the all-purpose Japanese soup stock and is among the pillars of Japanese cuisine. The reason for this is that it’s a veritable (and relatively neutral tasting) umami bomb, which can turn up the volume of flavors on just about any dish (not just Japanese ones) in the right proportions (more…

Demystifying Umami

I find it uncontroversial to say that umami is the backbone of food generally. Western cooks, as a matter of policy, tend to nod politely whenever it’s mentioned. They seem to have no deep appreciation of the concept. After all, in the US, we’re told simply that umami is some sort of weird, fifth, “meaty”…

Marinara: A Multi-Part Guide

Bottles are beautiful things. And I’m not saying that because I’m an alcoholic. Beyond enabling our hydration (via water) and dehydration (via imbibing), they work on many levels as metaphors. Take, for example, the bottleneck. In addition to referring to the physicality of that which distinguishes a bottle say, from a jar, a “bottleneck” offers…

Marinara: Chemical Reactions and Extraction

Understanding the chemical reactions and flavor extraction that occur in food are among the pillars of good cooking. Melding the flavors of garlic and herbs into tomatoes to make a delicious sauce is little more than a combination of chemical reactions and extraction. By chemical reaction, I mean transforming one ingredient into something very different…

The Fat of Our Land

The American diet borders on self-parody. We are fat and we are actually getting fatter. As of 2014, two out of every three Americans were considered to be clinically overweight or obese. The numbers keep rising despite the best efforts of people who have devoted their lives to this issue, expert advocates for health and…